Who was the smartest criminal in history? Why?

Frank William Abagnale (1948)

He developed his criminal activities between the ages of 16 and 21.

In this period:

He forged his driver’s license to make himself look ten years older and opened several bank accounts using different identities. In order to remove suspicion while he cashed his forged checks, he decided to become a pilot. He forged a pilot’s license and an employee card.

He forged $2.5 million in bank checks in the 26 countries he had flown as a pilot.

Shortly after he stopped working as a pilot, he moved to Giorgia where he became a pediatrician. He left the job after he nearly killed a baby.

Then he started working as a lawyer claiming that he had graduated from Harvard.

When he was arrested in 1969 twelve countries wanted his extradition.

While in prison he posed as an undercover inspector and this got him some special treatment. He was able to escape from prison but was arrested again.

He was released on parole, the condition being that he had to work for the FBI. To this day Frank still works for them.

How could it work as:

  • Doctor without having studied medicine
  • Lawyer without having studied law
  • Pilot without having had training

I have no idea how he was able to do all this. But this could only have been done by someone quite smart.

One of the most intelligent criminals in history is still alive and his name is Frank William Abagnale Jr.

His life inspired a movie that starred Leonardio DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, Catch Me If You Can.